Fuji WEC: Buemi, Hartley, Nakajima cruise to victory

Fuji WEC: Buemi, Hartley, Nakajima cruise to victory

Toyota secured another dominant 1-2 finish in the Fuji round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, as Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima claimed their first win of the season.

After taking an easy pole position with the help of the new LMP1 handicap system, the crew of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid took was untouchable en route to a first victory as a trio, with Hartley scoring his first WEC win since the 2017 Austin race.

Saddled by a theoretical time loss of 0.4 seconds a lap under the new system, Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez were powerless to put up a fight.

The arrival of a light rain-shower mid-race did little to change the pecking order, with both Toyotas switching to intermediate tyres and returning to slicks at the same time, meaning that the #7 car ended up 34 seconds adrift at the finish.

That was despite the #8 car earning a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding with just over two hours to run, which reduced the winning squad's advantage by some 30s.

Completing the podium was Rebellion Racing's sole entry driven by Bruno Senna, Norman Nato and Gustavo Menezes, two laps down.

Senna enjoyed a spirited battle with Kobayashi in the early laps over second place but the advantage of the hybrid-powered Toyota in traffic soon told, and shortly after the two-hour mark the Gibson-powered R-13 had already dropped off the lead lap.

The #5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 of Egor Orudzhev, Luca Ghiotto and Ben Hanley was on course for fourth place until a late brake failure while Hanley was at the wheel consigned the car to the garage for 16 minutes and left it 16 laps down.

Their misfortune promoted the sister #6 car of Guy Smith, Mike Simpson and Charlie Robertson to fourth in the LMP1 order, albeit 14 laps down after suffering a right-rear puncture and then a six-minute stop-and-hold penalty for exceeding the tyre allocation.

LMP2: De Vries stars as RTN gets first win

#29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07 - Gibson: Frits van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde, Job Van Uitert

#29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07 - Gibson: Frits van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde, Job Van Uitert

Photo by: JEP / LAT Images

Racing Team Nederland scored a first LMP2 class win, as newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries turned in a star performance to take victory in the Oreca 07 he shares with compatriots Giedo van der Garde and Frits van Eerd.

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After taking over the car from van Eerd with a little under two hours to go, de Vries overturned a deficit of almost 90s in relation to the Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca, which had spent much of the race vying for the lead with High Class Racing's Oreca.

Toyota protege Kenta Yamashita had just passed Ho-Pin Tung to take the lead before handing over to gentleman driver Mark Patterson with 90 minutes to run, giving Tung a buffer of 10s over Anthony Davidson in the JOTA Sport Oreca.

Davidson caught up Tung and vaulted into what appeared to be the net lead at the final round of pitstops - but de Vries had eroded the RTN's car deficit to such an extent that he was able to make his final splash-and-go with 25 minutes to run and rejoin the track 6s ahead.

The Dutch driver sealed victory for RTN by 26s over the JOTA car shared by Davidson, Roberto Gonzalez and Antonio Felix da Costa, while the Jackie Chan car of Tung, Will Stevens and Gabriel Aubry ended up a lapped third with an engine issue.

High Class ended up fifth as Patterson dropped back late on, behind the United Autosports Oreca that was delayed by a loss of power while Phil Hanson was at the wheel.

Signatech Alpine finished eighth and last in class after an early coming-together between Pierre Ragues and the Red River Sport Ferrari of Bonamy Grimes at Turn 1 left the #36 car needing a trip to the garage - ending a run of nine podiums for the French squad.

GTE: Aston takes first dry-weather win

Aston Martin scored a first GTE Pro win for its new Vantage GTE without the help of bad weather, as Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen took their first victory in almost a year.

The all-Danish duo assumed the lead of the class when Thiim passed Alex Lynn in the sister Aston Martin for the lead at Turn 10 in the second hour, and gained a 20s lead after an off at Turn 1 for Martin when he took over the #97 car towards the end of the third hour.

Porsche finished second with the #92 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen, helped by making a stop under full-course yellow while the #97 Aston that eventually finished third pitted under green.

Ferrari's pair of works AF Corse-run 488 GTEs were fourth and fifth, struggling for pace early on and losing more time by not pitting under FCY, while the #91 Porsche was sixth and last following a drive-through penalty for track limits abuse and a late misfire.

TF Sport secured its first WEC class win with a dominant run in GTE Am thanks to the efforts of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonathan Adam in the #90 Aston Martin.

The trio ended up 42s clear of the Silverstone-winning AF Corse Ferrari crew of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen, while the Project 1 Porsche shared by Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga and Jeroen Bleekemolen recovered from being sent to the back of the grid to secure third.

Aston Martin's works Am car was 22 laps down after being clouted by the Dempsey-Proton Porsche of local driver Satoshi Hoshino at Turn 10 on the opening lap.

Session results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Laps Time
1 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 232 6:00'30.025
2 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 232 6:01'03.980
3 1 Brazil Bruno Senna
United States Gustavo Menezes
France Norman Nato
Rebellion R13 LMP1 230 6:01'48.901
4 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Oreca 07 LMP2 222 6:01'00.959
5 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 222 6:01'26.767
6 37 China Ho-Pin Tung
France Gabriel Aubry
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 221 6:00'45.427
7 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
Oreca 07 LMP2 220 6:01'06.580
8 33 United States Mark Patterson
Japan Kenta Yamashita
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Oreca 07 LMP2 219 6:00'53.048
9 42 France Nicolas Lapierre
Switzerland Antonin Borga
Switzerland Alexandre Coigny
Oreca 07 LMP2 219 6:01'38.526
10 6 United Kingdom Charles Robertson
United Kingdom Michael Simpson
United Kingdom Guy Smith
Ginetta G60-LT-P1 LMP1 218 6:01'12.566
11 36 France Thomas Laurent
Brazil Andre Negrao
France Pierre Ragues
Alpine A470 LMP2 217 6:02'02.253
12 5 Italy Luca Ghiotto
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
Russian Federation Egor Orudzhev
Ginetta G60-LT-P1 LMP1 216 6:00'45.034
13 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Andrea Belicchi
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Dallara P217 LMP2 216 6:00'48.159
14 95 Denmark Marco Sorensen
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 211 6:02'03.122
15 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 210 6:00'40.739
16 97 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Belgium Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 210 6:01'05.354
17 51 United Kingdom James Calado
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 210 6:01'21.912
18 71 Italy Davide Rigon
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 209 6:01'25.115
19 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 208 6:01'03.442
20 90 Turkey Salih Yoluc
Ireland Charles Eastwood
United Kingdom Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 208 6:01'45.760
21 83 France François Perrodo
France Emmanuel Collard
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 207 6:00'35.678
22 57 United States Ben Keating
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 207 6:01'09.124
23 70 Japan Motoaki Ishikawa
Monaco Olivier Beretta
Japan Kei Cozzolino
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 207 6:01'36.940
24 77 Germany Christian Ried
Italy Riccardo Pera
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 207 6:01'43.844
25 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 206 6:01'05.189
26 56 Norway Egidio Perfetti
Denmark David Heinemeier Hansson
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 206 6:01'43.945
27 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
United Kingdom Andrew Watson
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 204 6:00'30.167
28 88 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Belgium Adrien de Leener
Austria Thomas Preining
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 198 6:00'51.301
29 62 United Kingdom Bonamy Grimes
United Kingdom Johnny Mowlem
United Kingdom Charles Hollings
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 197 6:01'17.089
30 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
United Kingdom Darren Turner
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 186 6:01'46.697
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About this article

Series WEC
Event Fuji
Sub-event Race
Author Jamie Klein